Carlos Calvo stopped by the WorldArts Stage for an exclusive Periscope session!
With a storied two decades under his belt as Hollywood’s go-to guitar coach, indie singer-songwriter Carlos Calvo is flipping the traditional script by injecting something fresh into his brand of Alternative Folk that’s been absent from the genre at large: virtuoso guitar playing.
With jazz guitar icon Al Di Meola as a childhood next door neighbor, Carlos grew up surrounded by world-famous guitarists. At age 7, he began an 11-year curriculum at Carnegie Hall with classical and flamenco great Juan de la Mata, a close associate to flamenco guitar legend, Sabicas. Having mastered compositions by Segovia, Bach, and Barrios, he moved from New York City to Hollywood, enrolling at Musicians Institute under the tutelage of legendary Wrecking Crew session player Tommy Tedesco (Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra). While these visionary icons had a profound impact on his musical development, he also counts The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Philip Glass and the soulful music emanating from Muscle Shoals, Alabama as influences and inspiration.
On his latest album, Further Down The Line (2015), Calvo constructs a seamlessly shifting soundscape that expertly buoys his emotional tales of life and love. From the melancholic Elliott Smith-type yearning on “Midnight” to the esoteric Bob Dylan-influenced “Don’t Mean A Thing” to the plaintive Caleb Followill grit of “Bayonne,” to the Ry Cooder-style soloing on “Natural Causes,” the 12-track album showcases Calvo’s warm, resonant voice, deep and thoughtful lyrics, and mellifluous guitar playing that elegantly mixes Blues, Rock, Flamenco and everything in between. It’s a musical journey that stakes its roots from the get-go, fully blossoming with repeated visitations. Further is an apt continuation of the textured portrait he painted on his debut album Past Present Future which landed in the Top 25 of Music Connection Magazine’s year-end ‘Best of”.
In addition to composing/producing original music, Carlos teaches guitar privately and counts Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Neil Diamond’s son Micah, Joe Perry’s son Adrian, actress Marg Helgenberger (CSI, China Beach, Under The Dome) and actor Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure, Numb3rs, The Bucket List) as students. He also regularly coaches actors to portray musicians; most notably David Duchovny for Californication, Ambyr Childers for Ray Donovan, and David Oyelowo, who played the Muddy Waters character in the film, Who Do You Love. He was also tapped as a coach for the acclaimed James Brown biopic Get On Up, which was produced by Mick Jagger and stars Viola Davis, Aloe Blacc, Jill Scott and Dan Ackroyd. He played guitar on the score of King of the Hill for three seasons and has had songs placed in the major motion pictures She’s All That and Finding Holden.
Before embarking on his solo career, Carlos fronted successful bands that toured with Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Willie Porter. As a solo artist, he has toured with The Bacon Brothers and Colin Hay and numerous times in Europe as a headliner. Calvo frequently gigs in LA and NYC, both as a solo artist and as a sideman and was asked to play at the Californication series-ending wrap party in Venice, CA whereby he joined Duchovny, Marilyn Manson and Steve Jones (of Sex Pistols) on a no-holds-barred jam of The Eagles classic, “Hotel California”.
Up ahead in the distance, he sees a shimmering light. It’s leading him further down the line on the long and winding road.
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